How to maintain strength and health in old age
What age changes are inevitable and which ones can be prevented by physical exercise? You can find out about it, having got acquainted with the results of studies of sports indicators of aging athletes. This data will help you choose a training strategy that allows you to keep the strength of a twenty year old at 50 years of age.
Most studies are based on measuring the level of maximum oxygen consumption (MOC). The amount of oxygen you breathe on the treadmill at the time of greatest stress is your IPC score. This is a classic parameter reflecting the ability of the lungs to consume oxygen, the ability of the heart to pump blood, the ability of muscles to work under load. It usually drops by 10% every ten years. However, for athletes who continue to train this indicator is two times less than that of non-training, that is, their heart, lungs and muscles work twice as efficiently.
Traditionally, in the decline of the IPC blame the heart. With age, the number of cardiac muscle receptors that “listen” to the signals of the nervous system that regulate the frequency of heartbeats decreases, and it gradually decreases. However, the results of the experiment, which began in the 60s of the XX century and ended in the late 90s, allowed to establish an interesting fact.
In older people, the volume of blood pushed through with each heartbeat increases, as the heart grows over the years, so as not to lose the ability to push blood into the arteries that have lost their former elasticity. This compensates for the age-related change in the frequency of beats. A 50-year-old’s heart doesn’t have to beat with the same frequency to pump as much blood per minute as it pumped at a younger age.
.MPC becomes less, not because the heart cannot supply enough oxygen to the muscles, but because the muscles are not able to absorb it. Perhaps this is due to the fact that with age, the muscles in the muscles become smaller than the capillaries supplying them with blood, or the arteries are sclerosed, and the muscles are not able to signal an oxygen deficiency.
Whatever the reason, older people can significantly increase their BMD simply by physical activity. 3-5 hours of training per week will help 50-year-old people to return their aerobic performance (oxygen consumption indicators) to the level they had at 20 years of age in six months.
John Keston, a former actor and opera singer, began running at the age of 55 to somehow cope with high pressure. After 14 years, he overcame the marathon distance in less than three hours. This is an impressive result for his age!
Another way to slow down aging is muscle training. The most effective exercise for this is weight lifting. This kind of training is available even for 90 years old. To achieve the best results, you need to raise your weight limit, regardless of age. It is easy to determine it: it is a weight that warms you well for 3 sets of 10 repetitions each. However, unlike aerobic capacity (BMD), it is not so easy for muscles to regain their youthful form after decades of inactivity.
The muscles of a young man are different from those of an older person. Muscle fibers are divided into two types: fast and slow. The former are capable of fast, intense, but short-term action, but the latter are more enduring. In sprinters, for example, “fast” muscles prevail, and in marathoners – “slow” ones. As people age, they lose their “fast” muscles earlier. Probably, the principle of expediency works here: that which is unclaimed is lost. When a 70-80-year-old man refuses active movements, unused cells of rapidly contracting muscles atrophy
. When older people begin to engage in athletic gymnastics, that is, to lift weights, their muscle mass increases, but at the expense of slowly twitching fibers. Power is also increasing, but this is not the force due to the “fast” muscles. Answer the question why the “slow” muscles respond to training, and the “fast” – no, scientists can not yet.
However, what is already known to science is enough to choose the right way to rejuvenate the body. This is aerobic exercise and weight lifting. Only it is necessary to take into account that with age the body recovers more slowly after workouts and it needs a longer rest. Therefore, older people should train no more than 3-5 hours per week.